I wrote earlier about the Turkish government’s invitation to Ismail Haniya to begin 2012 in Istanbul, as a guest of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While ignorance of Arabic or inattention to Haniya’s pronouncements lead Westerners to kid themselves into believing Hamas has moderated, neither Erdoğan nor Turkish President Abdullah Gul, the latter a long-time resident of Saudi Arabia, can plead such ignorance. They know exactly where Haniya stands. Indeed, as the invaluable Itamar Marcus and colleague Nan Jacques Zilberdik at Palestinian Media Watch point out, shortly before he departed for Turkey, here is what Haniya had to say:
The armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers… We won’t relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine.
According to the Turkish press, Haniyeh declared, “We owe a duty of loyalty to the martyrs of the freedom flotilla.” Haniyeh thanked Turkey for its consistent assistance, be it with the Mavi Marmara or freeing Palestinian prisoners.